Updated July 20, 2020
Culture is the characteristics and knowledge of the particular group of people, encompassing language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts and we all know that different regions with languages, festivals, religions, geographic variations and identities are strength in itself. That’s why India is known for its unique blend of ‘Unity in Diversity’ of culture. Such diversity of culture is holistically represented cultural pockets of small India all over the nation. Cultural pockets refer to the concept that within a bigger, overarching culture we can develop and sustain a different culture. The cultural bubble is another label that is used to describe this concept. India, being a large country with a vast population, represents endless varieties of physical features and cultural patterns. It is the land of many languages. It is only in India people professes all the major religions of the world. In short, India is “the epitome of the world”.
Evidence of Existence of Cultural Pockets of Small India across the Nation
Cosmopolitan Urban Life-
The cosmopolitan culture which is present in Indian cities brings people from all parts of India, people belonging to all classes (billionaires and slums), all castes and all religion residing in a peaceful and harmonious manner.
The vast diversity is seen in India as a nation is also visible in small regions of India. Delhi, also known as ‘Mini India’ because of the co-existence of different cultures, diversified people, food, festivals etc. Here, people are migrated from Haryana, Punjab, UP, Bihar, Northeast and South in search of employment, education etc. and they eventually settle down there. You can see here various architectural form like Jama Masjid, Sikh Gurudwara and Temples etc.
The North-Eastern states have distinct cultures and multiple ethnic groups depicting unity in diversity. The variety of ethnic groups, languages and religions reflect the multi-cultural character of the states. The region houses over 200 of the 635 tribal groups in the country, speaking a variety of Tibeto-Burman languages and dialects. States like Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland are predominantly inhabited by tribal with a certain degree of diversity among the tribes. States like Assam, Manipur, Tripura and Sikkim are inhabited by people of various religious denominations like Hindus, Christians and Muslims and a combination of local tribes and communities. This shows that a ‘Mini India’ exists in the north-Eastern region as well.
South India also depicts the existence of a mini version of India. The diverse cuisine of this region consists of Idly, Dosa, sambhar, Rasam, Vada, Bonda and Uttapam. It is a land where people follow different religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Christianity and Islam and live harmoniously. The popular dance forms in this region are kathakali Bharat Natyam, Mohiniyattam, Kuchipudi, Theyyam and Koodiyattam.
College and Higher Education Institutions-
Higher educational institutes like AIIMs, IITs, IIMs provide us with the same scenario. These colleges and universities represent students from a different religion, region, caste etc. Students from every corner of the nation irrespective of their hometowns, race, caste, class or any other differences learn in the same classroom. Merit is the only criteria which increase bonding.
Cultural Cities is also an example of a Small India or Cultural Bubble–
Cultural Cities like Prayagraj, Varanasi, Ajmer where religion is not a dividing line. Such cities represent the cultural pockets of small India by amicably living in the spirit of brotherhood and tolerance.
Cultural Pockets can be in Multi-Storey Housing Societies
Cultural pockets can be easily seen in the multi-Storey housing societies where a variety of people live in the same building exchanging food habits, traditions, indigenous culture. Even, they celebrate all festivals together as if they are a big joint family. The same applies to multinational organizations and corporate offices as well where different people come to build India on collective strength.
When such diversity pools in together at a small pace, it becomes a cultural pocket. These illustrations justify the existence of a cultural pocket of small India all over the nation. Above pockets represent Image of India at a smaller level. But there is an issue due to sub-nationalism-
(a) Regional divide due to development imbalance
(b) Rural-Urban divide is seen as rural India is represented by agriculture which is not remunerative enough leading to migration
(c) Communal violence seen in Assam (2012), Mirzapur Nagar (2013) due to divide in society. India is known for its culture of tolerance. Representation of small India is also seen in ‘Diaspora working in a foreign country’ which are bound by Indianness. We all should work to increase the area and scope of such small India in pockets to the whole nation.
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